EDUCATION AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
Since 2001, Grainger has leveraged its passion for education and job training to create positive changes and new opportunities in our communities. We work with several non-profit organizations to build a foundation of new possibilities for highly motivated students based on need. We leverage the strength and support of our BRGs to partner with several organizations to provide guidance, funding and tools to students in our communities.
We invest in the future of the skilled trade workforce through our Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program. Each year, Grainger works with the American Association of Community Colleges to offer two scholarships of $2,000 each at participating community colleges in the U.S. The scholarships are awarded to students in skilled trade, public safety and supply chain programs. Half of the scholarships offered are earmarked for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. In addition to the scholarship, Grainger provides tools to students after they graduate to help them launch a successful career. Since 2006, Grainger has donated more than $4.5 million to support technical education. In 2017, 85 schools participated and we provided 154 scholarships. This represents a 74 percent participation rate, which since 2006 has exceeded the national average of 60 percent.
On October 4, 2017, Grainger celebrated the success of the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow® scholarship program graduates at an event hosted by the Latino Business Resource Group in honor of the close of Hispanic Heritage Month at our Los Angeles DC in Mira Loma, CA. During the event, we presented scholarship recipients with certificates and celebrated our workforce development partnerships with local community colleges. Arcadio Ochoa, Director of the LADC, presented certificates to students from Chaffey College and Saddleback College.
“I would like to extend to you my sincere gratitude to all at Grainger in presenting this award to Kyle Moller from Saddleback College. Your scholarship program is another great reason why our students continue their education. With Grainger’s kind generosity, the journey is made possible. This award has brought motivation and gratification, reminding our students that hard work does pay off. Thank you for recognizing the importance of education and for recognizing our students past and present as recipients of this award.” Rajanpal (Raj) Dhillon, Sr. Technician – Saddleback Community College
Team Member Activation
Grainger continues to support its local communities through the Business Resource Group Community Fund. Since its inception in 2014, the fund has aligned our BRGs with nonprofit partners to amplify the efforts of both. In 2017, we increased the effectiveness of this program by aligning BRG resources around one program area: workforce development. By encouraging the BRGs to collaborate, we believe we will strengthen the program and create even more meaningful outcomes.
In addition to an aligned program area, we have united the BRG Community Fund with another key initiative, our Executive Board Placement (EBP) Program. The EBP program provides high-potential executives an opportunity to refine and enhance their leadership skills, cultivate strong and strategic partnerships with local non-profits, and engage Grainger in civic activities that foster inclusion and diversity. Our goal with the EBP program is to leverage the valuable skills of our leaders with organizations that provide programs for community engagement, volunteer mobilization and team member development.
Grainger’s EBP Program started in 2008, with eight executives serving on non-profit boards. This number has grown to 23 executives; eight of the organizations supported by the BRG Community Fund have a Grainger executive serving on their board.
One Million Degrees Four BRGs collaborated to support One Million Degrees (OMD) in 2017, including the African-American, Equality Alliance, Generational and Latino BRGs. OMD is dedicated to providing comprehensive support to low-income, highly-motivated community college students to help them succeed in school, work and life. From tutors and coaches to financial assistance and leadership development, OMD provides tools and resources that empower scholars to transform their lives. This year, Grainger became one of the largest providers of OMD coaches, with 26 team members serving as coaches to OMD scholars.
In 2017, Grainger sponsored OMD scholars from the College of Lake County (CLC) during a speed-networking event at our Lake Forest, IL, campus. Approximately 40 Grainger team members, some serving as OMD coaches, volunteered to hear and constructively critique the job interview skills of participating CLC students during an evening reception. This was the first such OMD event offered onsite at a corporation. The event was introduced by masters of ceremony Brent Tollison, Vice President of Commercial Sales, and Ben Nichols, Vice President of Government Sales, who serve on the boards of OMD and CLC, respectively.
i.c. stars Foundation This organization, supported by our Generational BRG, provides a rigorous technology-based workforce development and leadership training program for low-income adults, developing Chicagoland’s most promising information technology talent with leadership goals and connecting them with career opportunities through partner organizations like Grainger. Historically, Grainger has supported a cohort of “stars” who are given a real business challenge to solve. Grainger then may recruit members of the cohort for roles in our organization. Nkosi White, now one of Grainger’s End Point Analysts, participated in an i.c. stars program and has been employed at Grainger for 10 years.
In the spring and fall of this year, the Generational BRG invited “stars” to participate in a career day at Grainger’s Chicago, IL, downtown campus. During the event, Grainger team members volunteered to share their career and development paths.